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International | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism

Egypt Erupts (February 1, 2011) from a left perspective
by RWF ( restes1960 [at] yahoo.com )
Tuesday Feb 1st, 2011 4:24 PM
The US, the EU and Israel stand behind Mubarak, hoping to suppress the movement through instigated unrest and the passage of time. Best to read from the bottom up.
UPDATE 6 (4:06PM Pacific time): Obama stands by his man.

UPDATE 5 (3:16PM Pacific time): Looks like I was too optimistic about the timing of the Obama/Netanyahu destabilization plan for Egypt. It's already started in Alexandria and Port Said:

Clashes are taking place near Mahatit Masr Square in Egypt's second city of Alexandria. Witnesses say that after Mr Mubarak's speech ended, protesters started chanting Get out. Then a pro-Mubarak crowd arrived chanting Reform, reform, we are with you.

Al-Jazeera reports that men in civilian clothes and armed with bladed weapons attacked demonstrators in Port Said after the army withdrew from the streets.

Note that the chant of the pro-Mubarak crowd in Alexandria is consistent with the statements of the US State Department. It is now evident that Mubarak's speech signalled the commencement of a campaign, supported by the US, the EU and Israel, to suppress the movement. Obama and Mubarak had a 30 minute conversation about it just awhile ago. They will push Egypt into the violence associated with 1980s Lebanon, 1990s Peru and contemporary Pakistan to prevent it from becoming an Arab democratic alternative to Zionism if necessary.

UPDATE 4 (1:20PM Pacific time): Mubarak believes that the US and Israel can keep him in power long enough to dictate political conditions in Egypt after his departure. All of his speech, down to the last period, was coordinated with the US State Department. In light of what I discussed in my initial post today, one has a pretty good idea what they are talking about at USAID, NED and the CIA, with the Mossad on the encrypted conference call line.

As As'ad Abukhalil has just posted:

I say this without any hyperbole, but the US is willing to have millions of Arab oppressed, killed, and tortured to preserve the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. I strongly and firmly believe that.

Meanwhile, here's the response of the protesters:

Leave! Leave! Get Out!

And:

Friday afternoon, we will be at the palace.

Muburak says that he will die on the soil of Egypt. I doubt it. When the time comes, he will get on the plane and go to live abroad.UPDATE 3: So, you thought I exaggerated when I said that Zionism can only survive by imprisoning the Egyptians as well as the Palestinians? Richard Cohen, the floor is yours:

My take on all this is relentlessly gloomy. I care about Israel. I care about Egypt, too, but its survival is hardly at stake. I care about democratic values, but they are worse than useless in societies that have no tradition of tolerance or respect for minority rights. What we want for Egypt is what we have ourselves. This, though, is an identity crisis. We are not them.

Please, Mr. Cohen, keep talking, along with your other Zionist friends, so that the Egyptians understand the racist contempt that you have for them. By the way, for those of you that are interested, As'ad Abukhalil, the Angry Arab, is posting ongoing reports on the Zionist freak out over the events in Egypt on his blog if you are interested. Here's another one.

UPDATE 2: More evidence that the responses of Mubarak and the Obama administration are coordinated:

President Obama has told the embattled president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, that he should not run for another term in elections in the fall, effectively withdrawing American support for its closest Arab ally, according to American diplomats in Cairo and Washington.

Al Arabiya television, citing unnamed sources, reported that Mr. Mubarak would announce in a nationwide address Tuesday evening that he would not run for another term.

In the end, though, it's a good thing. The more the US lags behind the movement in Egypt, and keeps putting out these embarassing solutions designed to preserve the power of the regime, the more independent post-Mubarak Egypt will be. Egyptians understand what the US is doing, more so than most Americans, and such actions increase the probability that the ultimate outcome will be determined by the people themselves. Oh, and did I forget to mention that every time he does this, Obama looks more and more ridiculous?

UPDATE 1 (8:45AM Pacific time): From As'ad Abukalil:

Many Zionists are fooling themselves and saying that there are no foreign policy elements to the Egyptian Uprising. I am now listening to the mass rally in Tahriri Square live on Aljazeera (Aljazeera is saying the total number is 2 million if you add the people around the square). And I can hear the chant: يا مبارك يا جبان, يا عميل الأميركان "o Mubarak, you coward. O agent of the Americans" (it rhymes in Arabic)

INITIAL POST: Al Jazeera reports over a million Egyptians in Tahrir Square protesting for the departure of Hosni Muburak and the end of his regime. Already, there are unconfirmed reports that Mubarak has left the country, but we should take them with a grain of salt. In any event, it is now absolutely essential that the revolution be carried out from below, instead of from above. Yesterday, there was an extraordinary confusion about US policy as the Obama administration and the EU tried to keep up with events beyond the control. Some reports even said that the US was willing to allow the participation of the Muslim Brotherhood, heretofore anathema to the US, in a new government. As the day lengthened, there was an obvious desperation to the efforts of the US and the EU to devise a means by which to bring the crisis in Egypt to an end on their terms, and it didn't really matter what terms, just that, when all was said and done, the US and the EU could show the world that they had intervened and initiated a political transition.

Because nothing is more frightening to the US and the EU, and the militarized neoliberal order that they represent, than a revolution carried through from below, by the people themselves, televised in close to real time on cable news networks that reach nearly everyone in the world, even those in remote rural areas. Nothing is more alarming to them than the prospect that such a success will result in the people of Egypt seeking to assert their autonomy, without their approval, with the possibility that millions (billions?) of others may follow their example. So, it became absolutely essential that the US and the EU to find a way to insinuate themselves into the situation in Egypt in such a way as to establish that they are the ones with the power over the lives of the Egyptian people, that they are the ones who decide the social conditions under which the Egyptian people will govern themselves and interact with other countries. So far, they have failed, and we can only hope that it is an irreversible one. Unfortunately, we can expect that they will attempt to salvage the situation by seeking the elevation of that security thug, their Pinochet in waiting, Suleiman. Looks doubtful that he would last long, if he is allowed to assume any power at all.

If the Obama administration conceded a role for the Muslim Brotherhood, it is a significant concession, and reflects the severity of the situation from its perspective. Historically, the US has sought to set the ground rules for the purportedly democratic systems of its clients, insisting upon the exclusion of political parties considered hostile, so that they can be manipulated to ensure obesiance. Hence, the insistence that the Sadrist party in Iraq either be excluded from government or, failing that, relegated to a minor role. Similarly, in Haiti, where the US has much more influence, the largest political party, Lavalas, has been banned from participation in Haitian elections. During the Cold War, the US successfully persuaded the Christian Democratic party in Italy to exclude the PCI, the Italian Communist party, and supplied covert financing to the Liberal Democratic party of Japan to keep out the Socialists.

With this background in mind, we can better understand the strategy of the US and the EU. Even if Mubarak must go, they will insist that the transition be administered by Suleiman. Elections will take place pursuant to ground rules set by Suleiman in consultation with the US, while he attempts to create and manipulate fissures between opposition groups. Meanwhile, there will be disquieting stories of political killings and attacks, seemingly isolated, against people considered anti-US and anti-Zionist for the purpose of intimidating them and persuading the middle class that a strong executive is required to maintain public order. If they succeed in the election of such a figure, someone who has been preselected as the preferred candidate because of his lack of a public record of alignment with the US and Israel, he will, over the course of time, reconstitute the security apparatus that has been shattered by the protests. With the guidance of US, UK and Israeli security consultants, it will be trained in more subtle measures of social control, ones that attain the same results as Mubarak did, but without the dimension of mass brutality associated with it. Fortunately, though, it appears that the Egyptian people understand this playbook much better than we do, and want nothing to do with it.